Why skiing in Hakuba is the best Japanese snow experience

Hakuba GoryuAlready shredded the slopes in Niseko and looking for another ski holiday in Japan? You should try skiing in Hakuba, which is known as the mountain for locals. This is a traditional Japanese area where green tea flows from a tap at your restaurant table and onsens (hot springs) are the best way to recover after an enjoyable day on the slopes, just be prepared to go in the nude.

Ski Hakuba

The mountain is a heaven for snowboarders, so be sure to try your luck on the rails or jumps at the local terrain park. If you’re a skier Hakuba has some of the best off-piste skiing in the country, tree skiing is especially challenging, rewarding and beautiful, just make sure you watch out for those cheeky monkeys. hakuba monkeys

If you are wanting to make the most of the powder head to our preferred partner for the best equipment rental in town, where owner Saito San always sharpen skies like he’s sharpening a samurai.

After the fun on the slopes is over there is much more fun to be had in town where the après ski scene takes off. Enjoy live music at the pub or even hit a local nightclub. For a more quiet night, enjoy a Japanese massage or soak in an outdoor onsen while stargazing into the crisp night sky.

Onsen Hakuba

Hakuba boasts 10 ski resorts with over 200 runs that range from beginner to advanced as well as many activities for those winter enthusiasts like snow mobiling, snow rafting, snowshoeing, telemarking and many more.

 Access Hakuba

The best time to ski Hakuba is between mid January to mid February, but the season last from early December to late April. Hakuba has an annual snowfall of over 14m and an abundance of fresh powder daily. Hakuba is not too far from Tokyo with a total travel time of no more than 5 hours depending how you plan it. The most exciting way to get there is by bullet train! Just make sure you don’t arrive at the airport during the night as after about 8pm all trains to Nagano stop. In that case sleep one night in Tokyo. Here’s how to do it:

  1. From Narita Airport to Tokyo station take the Narita Express which frequently departs from the airport train station. This takes about 1 hour and costs about JPY 3000.
  2. From Tokyo Station to Nagano take the Nagano Bullet Train (Asama Shinkansen). This takes about 1.5 hours and costs about JPY7500.
  3. From Nagano Station to Hakuba take a bus from bus stop 6. This takes about 1 hour and costs around JPY 1500.
  4. Then taxi to your hotel from the bus stop or have your hotel pick you up.


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